Petrolo wine estate is situated in the province of Arezzo, between the eastern Chianti area and the Arno river, with the magnificent Pratomagno mountains as a backdrop.  A territory of great geographic and climatic variation. And a little less beaten wine path in Tuscany. This particular part of Valdarno Superiore,  the ‘upper Arno valley’, has only recently been officially granted a DOC denomination in the wine map. In Petrolo they have always done things their own way and are known for their own labels, rather than those of the territory. Petrolo has a great terroir for great wines. But most of all it is the manual work with the terroir that makes Petrolo wine estate such a great winemaker. The estate decided to produce only great wines and there is nothing pretentious about it.  Luca Sanjust, the current owner of Petrolo estate describes winemaking following:

Making a great wine is complex. You need a coincidence of several circumstances; special pedoclimatic conditions, awareness, dedication and hard work. And also a good portion of luck.” 

Petrolo is looking both back in the history of the Tuscan winemaking, as well as in the future. Valdarno Superiore may be a new DOC area in Tuscany, but it took back the original denomination, as one of Tuscany’s four great wine areas, established by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III De Medici, in 1716. A century later, 1834, Giorgio Perrin,  previous owner of Petrolo and a member of Gergofilian academy, discovered an extremely rich ecosystem in the soil at Petrolo’s vineyards that is suitable for different varieties of grapes. He brought the french grapes at the estate, the merlot and the cabernet sauvignon, to be combined with the local sangiovese. Each of the grapes is growing in their own vineyard, in the best possible position and eco system for that grape. 

Tuscan Sangiovese grapes

Sangiovese grape with the wings

Manuality:

A century later, Gastone Bazzocchi, the grand father of the current owners, took the next step in Petrolo’s wine history. He decided in the 40’s to produce less but better wines, a direction firmly followed by his children, the current winemakers. Since the late 40’s the estate has gone from 1500 plants per hectare, that produced 3500 hectolitres of wine to 5500 plants per hectare, that today produces less than 700 hectolitres of wine. The selection of the grapes is a constant manual work around the vine plants. Tying the plants, cleaning the vine by doing the ‘green harvest’, picking part of the grapes before the final harvest, to convince the vine to produce only the best quality grapes. The grapes are selected again, by hand, after the harvest. Each grape variety is fermented separately, the vinification is processed in glazed cement vats. Ageing of the wine is carried out in barriques, often in french oak barrels, depending on the wine. Paring wine and wood is in constant development.

Accurate selection of the best grapes

Accurate selection of the best grapes

Wine Memories: 

Petrolo is bringing history into the future of winemaking, and is experimenting with the ancient methods. A small amount of Bòggina, the prestigious Bògginanfora is produced in original Tuscan terracotta vases, also calledanforas. The wine remains in contact with the grape skin for a longer time, that protects the wine from the air and minimises the use of any chemicals to a zero. An ancient and natural way of vinification, that seeks to the very origins of wine making in Tuscany, all the way back to the roman and etruscan roots, in times when both the wine and the terracotta were created. Both products of the local terroir. And both natural materials that have the potentiality for an eternal life longevity.

Petrolo Bogginanfora wines

Bògginanfora wine made in terracotta vases

Wine Wisdoms:

The last Petrolo wine wisdom, ‘a good portion of luck?‘ Petrolo approaches winemaking also in a poetic way and makes direct comparisons with wine and music. Just watch the video on Petrolo’s website, Jimi Hendricks’ version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Along the watchtower’, that expresses a change of generation and speaks about wine in a way that lies near the (rockstar) heart of Petrolo:

Businessmen, they drink my wine, Plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line, Know what any of it is worth.”

Petrolo dedicates the song to ‘Torrione’ the wine named after the estates own medieval watchtower, Torre di Galatrona. Torrione represents Petrolo’s vineyards in their natural proportions: 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Petrolo vineyards below Galatrona watchtower

Petrolo vineyards below Galatrona watchtower

Other Favourites:

Galatrona is the grand crù of the estate, made of 100% Merlot. First vintage 1994.

Campolusso. Petrolo’s interpretation of 100 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Cultivated right under the watchtower, in 500 m hight. First vintage 2004.

Inarno. The new denomination Valdarno Superiore DOC wine. Produced of sangiovese of the selected local farms, vinified, aged and bottled in Petrolo, treated with the same manic manuality, like the rest of the estates wines. First vintage 2012.

 

Torrione, Galatrona, and Bòggina Wines

Torrione, Galatrona, and Bòggina Wines

Petrolo &  Friends:

Petrolo has the laid back charisma of a rock star, that makes it irresistible. It attracts wine lovers, foodies and other rock stars. Jamie Oliver passes by sometimes. So does his mentor, the great Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo. People come to Petrolo to cook, to write books, to play or listen to good music, to taste the good wines.  They come to chill out with the family. People get married in Petrolo, that has great facilities for groups, rustic charm and shabby chic Italian gardens with lemon trees in old terracotta vases and even an adorable countryside church in walking distance for wedding ceremonies.

Petrolo wine harvest lunch

Petrolo Wine Harvest Lunch

 

Petrolo is beyond a winery. It is a place with character and personality, that embraces much of what we love about Tuscany; the beauty of the landscape, decadent charm of a historical villa, and an open and welcoming country home, that has good wine and plenty of food always on table.  Petrolo is a place where several great circumstances coincide.

Wish to know more about Petrolo ? Wines, villa rentals, weddings ?  Go ahead and ask! 

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